Being a revolutionary: A constant struggle in our thoughts, words, and deeds

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”—Rosa Luxemburg

“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”—Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

In this 21st century, the very survival of this planet (Mother Earth) and humanity demands a conscious and deliberate meshing, and evolving of and in, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. This century demands that we humans utilize a revolutionary vision that recognizes not merely how things are, but concomitantly how they can be made to be.

Wars, greed, economic austerity and exploitation, corporate hegemony, racism, sexism, and the like are human-made conditions that absolutely do not have to prevail. These conditions have been artificially created by certain humans, and in reality, are the antithesis to the evolvement of humankind collectively.

The essence of humanity’s collective growth and development is not to be found in individual so-called “leaders,” but in just plain everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people collectively. The revolutionary is that woman or man who recognizes that revolution is an ongoing process whose home is always found within the thought processes of the mind, which ultimately lead to actions (i.e., deeds). For example, the farmer who engages in the (euphemistically revolutionary) act of tilling and overturning the soil must first have a conscious mental awareness of what kind of soil is to be tilled and what his or her objective actually is in tilling it (i.e., what crop is to be grown).

The terror of lethargy

Thanks to the disinformation, misinformation, and omissions by U.S. ‘educational’ institutions and the corporate-stream media, etc., a vast segment of the populace of the United States is kept in a perpetual state of lethargy. This too, must first be recognized for what it is so that it can be reversed.

This above-mentioned disinformation, misinformation, and omission is in fact a contrived and very deliberate form of psychological terrorism meant to control and manipulate everyday people in this nation, with disastrous affects both here and abroad. This is why so many people feel both anger and a sense of helplessness simultaneously. This is also why they find themselves stratified, remaining lethargic—like some caged hamster running mindlessly on a perpetually spinning wheel.

The revolutionary is a critical thinker and understands the absolute need to constantly strive to mesh our words and deeds with the revolutionary thought process itself. This is a constant struggle—but it is also a liberating one. We must all remember that the terror of lethargy is only too real. Yet, the revolutionary (as a critical thinker) does have the tools to effectively neutralize this psychological terror.

Irrespective of color or gender, there are many pitfalls, systemic traps and/or ensnarements with which the revolutionary must grapple. Yet, our human and revolutionary responsibility is to do exactly that—grapple with them; and grow and develop.

The deadly trap of male chauvinism

There isn’t a male on this planet who has not been, in one way or another, injected with the systemically ingrained virus known as male chauvinism. The degrees of this systemic injection may vary, but the injection is nonetheless real and can be very deadly to the revolutionary process and our own humanity.

This is not about self-recrimination. It is about recognizing the necessity for continual self examination with a view towards broadening our humanity and furthering the revolutionary process in not only thoughts, but also in words and deeds. It must be reiterated that this is a struggle—but an extremely necessary and liberating one for both genders.

Moreover, this is not about demonstrating tokenism towards women. Tokenism is as unacceptable in the context of gender as it is in the context of color. The great revolutionary slave abolitionist John Brown, known for his leadership role in the slave rebellion of 1859 at Harpers Ferry, made it clear that his actions had as much to do with his own humanity as with that of enslaved Black women, men, and children. John Brown understood that despite his being White, slavery was a blight upon his own humanity. Like racism, male chauvinism is a pathology, and it must be recognized, grappled with, struggled against, and ultimately eradicated. If we are revolutionaries then we must do this.

Women revolutionaries have repeatedly demonstrated that they were and remain an integral and invaluable part of humanity’s struggle, and they must be accorded full equality in all aspects of the struggle, including leadership. The leadership, intellect, hard work, and commitment of women such as Kiilu Nyasha, Kathleen Cleaver, Assata Shakur, Yuri Kochiyama, Lynne Stewart, and the late Marilyn Buck, to name but a very few, have demonstrated in this 21st century what other revolutionary women forerunners had previously laid the ground work for in the United States and globally.

In the words of Rosa Luxemburg: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

Let us move forward and recognize our chains (both mental and physical) so that we might throw them off! Che was correct when he said that “the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” Our love is that of the revolutionary. Our revolution is that of humanity.

Onward then. my sisters and brothers! Onward!

Intrepid Reporter Associate Editor, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, the San Francisco BayView newspaper, the Black Commentator, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)

One Response to Being a revolutionary: A constant struggle in our thoughts, words, and deeds

  1. Dear Mr. Pinkney,

    Thank you for another good article as to what we need to do to do as a people to make a better world for ourselves in the 21st century. I am thankful that you continue to emphasize our commonality as everyday people … men, women, black, white, brown, red, yellow, left, right, whatever. Thanks to writers like yourself, more of us are starting to wake up to how we have been pitted against each other by the powers that be who continue to benefit from bankrupting us all while we argue with each other over issues that mean nothing to them. We are recognizing our chains, as you wrote, and more and more of us are chosing to free ourselves and move onward. Man, it does feel good too. Looking forward to your next article!

    Peace everybody,

    Phil Restino
    Port Orange, FL

    PS – You may already be familiar with Karen Tostado of but if not, please give her a look. We are finding each other here in the 21st century, and it feels good!